Dropping Shopping

I’ll be the first to admit that my tastes have changed as I’ve aged.  I no longer think that green shag carpeting is the coolest floor covering ever, the way I did back in the early seventies.  As a child, I craved candy and would only eat green beans if they were covered in ketchup, but I’m happy to say my taste in food has improved a lot since then.  And as the photo of the outfit I wore to my high school prom shows, my taste in clothing and hairstyles has also, thankfully, improved.

Prom dressStill, last weekend when I went to the local mall to do a little shopping, I was surprised to realize how very much I hated being there.  I used to love going to the mall, and have fond memories of happy Saturday afternoons spent at the mall with my teen-aged friends as we shopped for the latest fashions, stopping only for an ice cream and a soft drink when we needed an energy boost.  Even after I grew up and had my own kids, a trip to the mall was still a good time.   Shopping was a little bit of time to myself, checking out the available goods and occasionally scoring that perfect piece of clothing that fit, looked good on me, and was also on sale. When did that all change, and a trip to the mall became as much fun as going to the dentist?

I think part of the problem is my age, because most of the smaller stores in the mall are geared toward teenagers and people in their twenties and early thirties.  There are some shops that seem to target “women of a certain age,” but they also labor under the mistaken belief that all women my age want to wears lots of leopard print, fringe, and sequins. (I don’t.)

For a while, I could count on the large department stores to be places I could shop in relative comfort, but no more.  Now most of the department stores seem to be having a contest to see which store can cram the most racks filled with random assortments of clothes in their space, forcing shoppers to paw through the goods as though we were at one of K-Mart’s old “blue light specials.”  And even if I do find something that I want to try on, I have to first find an empty dressing room, remove the mound of clothes that someone else left in there, and then prop a chair against the door before stripping down to my underwear, since none of the locks ever work.

Finding something I want to buy means even more fun at the check out, where I’m asked (repeatedly) if I want to sign up for their new rewards program, which entails filling out a lengthy form or verbally giving my email address, phone number, birthday and any other information which is routinely used in identity theft in front of the thirty or so other people who are within earshot.  A friend once recommended trying the “high end” department stores for better quality merchandise and better service, but that didn’t go well.  I did find a belt that I liked, for what I thought was $35.  Then I put on my reading glasses and looked at the label a bit more closely.  It was $350.  Which is considerably more than I will ever spend on a piece of leather whose chief purpose in life is to hold my pants up, and why I no longer browse the “high end” stores.

I’m not sure why I was so surprised to realize that I no longer enjoy shopping at the mall, since my tastes have changed in so many other areas of my life.  Maybe it was because I want to support brick-and-mortar retail establishments and the people they employ, rather than just shopping online and hoping that whatever I order actually fits.  (They never say “perfect for the aging, pear-shaped body” in the description.)  But I think it’s time for me to give up my trips to the mall.  And the chances are that I probably won’t miss them any more than I do eating green beans drowned in ketchup.

25 thoughts on “Dropping Shopping

  1. Interesting article. I like the title too, but misunderstood it. When I saw the picture of the horse I was time-warped back to my youth, when housewives would rush out into the street equipped with buckets and shovels when the rag-and-bone man (and his horse) had gone by – to collect free manure for their roses.

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    • I’m still not sure why WordPress put the photo of my horse on my blog in the reader section, but that’s a picture of Prince, the horse I grew up with and had for many years. He died over twenty years ago, and I still miss him. Thanks for the comment (and the information that there was a photo of Prince with this post!)

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  2. Shopping is definitely no longer fun. Most stores seem to cater to either those way younger than us or much older. As for signing up for loyalty cards, how about just giving me a discount because I shopped there and not because I have a card. I refuse to sign up cards anymore, I just say, I am not interested and if they try to convince me that I will get so many deals, I leave everything and walk away.

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  3. Oh the joys of muddling through middle age…. 🙂 It’s all good though – right? we now know what really matters and what is important. and it’s not a whole Saturday at the mall like we all loved to do a couple hundred years ago – haha!

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  4. You don’t like shag carpets anymore? Think of all the dog hair it hides! And what, you don’t like sequins?? Come on…we all need some **sparkle**. Malls with that fabulous lighting and all the great people to watch and the fine cuisine….jeepers, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to shop there… Tee hee… ❤

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  5. That’s a picture of Prince, a horse I had for many years. Why it got inserted into my blog (on the Reader section only, thank goodness) I have no idea! Someone else made a comment about the horse photo, and I thought they were commenting on the wrong person’s blog. I’m so glad you said something, so I knew it was there. WordPress will be the death of me yet. They have inserted random photos from my media library into my blogs before (again, shown only on the reader section), but I thought I had figured out how to stop that. Apparently, I hadn’t. I guess I’ll have to write my next post about Prince, and see if they put the photo of the prom dress in that one!

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  6. I don’t enjoy shopping either. If I like the style, the fabric is horrible. If I like the fabric, the style isn’t geared to what I want to wear. Anything I do like, I would have to avoid eating for years just to fit into it. Then I have to deal with being short. I can’t win!

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  7. I enjoyed your post, although I’ve never really been bothered about shopping for clothes myself, so there’s no change there. I actually quite liked your prom outfit. I realize, though, that fashions change. I’m not sure when the photograph was taken, but it looks like the very early 1970s. If so, I was a young boy with a hairstyle that made me look like a walking button mushroom. In comparison, your dress really is very much better.

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  8. It was taken in 1975, I think, and the floral material and puffy sleeves were in style at the time. At the time, I thought it was very pretty, and I suspect that in thirty years (if I’m lucky enough to still be around), I’ll be judging the clothes I’m wearing now a bit harshly. You’re right: styles just change!

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  9. I sometimes find shopping for clothes in stores frustrating–but I find shopping for clothes online even more frustrating since I end up needing to return a very high percentage of online purchases.

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  10. Got a big kick out of this one. You are so right about the department stores (we mean the old Famous Barr, now May, right?) being crammed with so much stuff. Your description of the dressing rooms was perfect.

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    • Yes, I was describing Macy’s in this post, but honestly, the other department stores I visit are just as bad! I don’t know why the stores have declined so much, especially now that they are getting so much competition from on-line retail sites. You would think that they would be trying to make the actual shopping experience a pleasant one, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

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